Topical Silicone Gel Found to Improve Burn Scars

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2010-08-31 10:05

Topical silicone gel, Dermatix, improves burn scars and lessens itching associated with healing according to a new study in the August issue of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Deep dermal injuries from burns are frequently followed by scarring. The normal course of scar maturation after the wounded skin heals is characterized by an increasing occurrence of redness, thickness, stiffness, pain, and itching, and a disturbance in pigmentation and surface roughness.

Burn scars are often treated with intralesional corticosteroid injections, occlusive dressings, custom-made pressure garments, and silicone sheets.

The silicone sheets, introduced in the early 1980s, have been shown to helpful in improving scar appearance. The drawbacks of their use include compliance issues on scars in visible areas, difficulty of use for scars on or adjacent to joints, and hygienic issues of prolonged use. The sheets can trap moisture creating skin irritation or rashes.

A topical silicone gel named Dermatix (Meda Pharma, Amstelveen, The Netherlands) was introduced to overcome the disadvantages of silicone sheets. It can be applied easily and dries to form a thin, flexible coating that does not restrict movement. Unlike the silicone sheets, cosmetics can be applied over the silicone layer to camouflage the scar.

Martijn van der Wal, M.D., VU University Medical Center, Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a randomized, double-blinded, within-subject comparative, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of topical silicone gel in the treatment of scars resulting from a burn injury.

Forty-six scars on 23 patients were included in the study and followed for 1 year. The mean age of the scars at inclusion was 4 months. The patients were given two blinded and coded products to be applied two times per day on the two included scars with instructions to not interchange the therapies between the two scars. One tube held a placebo cream and the other tube held Dermatix (kindly provided by Meda Pharma BV). Effectiveness on scar quality was evaluated at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months using the Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale and the DermaSpectrometer.

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